Even when you live in the Caribbean, you sometimes need to take a break. Since my travels always occur around food, I booked myself a flight to foodie heaven New York City.
It had already been 3 years since my last visit. And boy, was I excited to be back! Why it took me so long I don’t know. But I was there and ready to indulge myself in a week of shameless eating, drinking and exploring. From simple “hole in the wall” joints in Chinatown, to fancy hotel bars, to the hipster restaurants in Brooklyn; I tried to take in as much as possible.
While I write this, my belly and feet are relieved to be back home. The rest of me, wants to go back! In case you get there before me, make sure to visit the following places:
1. ABC Kitchen
Jean-George Vongerichten’s farm-to-table restaurant is still one of my favorites. Enjoy its minimalistic yet stylish decor of recycled materials and dig into a delicious menu made with fresh organic and local ingredients.
The best of Italy is brought together at this indoor food market. It hurts just writing this being so far away from it all. But expect mozzarella and burrata made fresh every day on the premises, cured meats, fragrant olive oils, locally grown and seasonal veggies, an amazing variety of dried and fresh pasta’s, still warm crusty Italian breads from the wood-burning oven, the freshest fish….do I need to go on? Find yourself a spot at one of the inhouse-restaurants and you don’t even have to wait until you get home to enjoy the goodies.
3. Nha Trang
I was very happy to find this place when I heard that my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the city had closed down. Expect proper Vietnamese food in a proper Vietnamese-style setting. Delicious, cheap food and anything but stylish or trendy. Make sure to try the beef pho (rice noodle soup), springrolls and barbecued beef. Simply delicious!
4. Deluxe Food Market (Mott St.)
While wandering through Chinatown looking for a good dumpling joint, I discovered this block-long Chinese supermarket. This is where the locals shop. Some items on the shelves are unrecognizable (though I’m pretty sure those were alligator paws for 5.99/lb), but at least you know the fish is fresh when they catch it from an aquarium and hit it with a hammer on the head right in front of you. Interesting place for foodies!
Still a favorite, there are quite a few of LPQ’s scattered all over Manhattan. It’s a good spot for a healthy breakfast. Or for a nice cappuccino if you want to take a short break from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Make sure to head over to Brooklyn for the Smorgasburg market. This streetfood market is a gathering of artisanal vendors selling food from tidy stalls. From slow-cooked pork sliders, to Asian steamed buns, to Mexican tacos, to pizza from the brick-oven and the trendy ramen-burger. Eat your heart out! Open on Saturdays and Sundays from April through November.
I forgot to bring my little black dress and heels, but arrived early enough to be allowed in. Not much to find here for a foodie (I don’t particularly warm to hautain skinny hostesses in Bond-dresses), but the decor and the view are amazing. The only person missing was Austin Powers. Go check out the bathroom while you’re there for a pee with a view.
8. Fette Sau
Hidden in a back-alley in a former auto-body repair shop, you easily miss this hipster BBQ-restaurant in Brooklyn. Get in line for a baking sheet piled with pulled pork, ribs and brisket, before you find your seat at one of the communal picknick tables. A creative and tasty take on traditional BBQ joints!
When I first started my catering business, I took severally cooking classes here. Besides professional training programs, they also offer lots of recreational courses from 1 day up to a week. During my recent visit they showed me around their state-of-the art new building next to Ground Zero at the Hudson River. If you are interested in taking cooking classes, this is a great place!
10. Fatty Crab
If you love Asian food, try this restaurant close to the Meatpacking District. The steamed buns with braised pork belly are mouthwatering, as is the spicy green mango & papaya salad. I was drooling over the bowl of chili crab on my neighbors’ table, for which I hereby apologize. Next time, I’ll make sure to order one myself!